WASHINGTON DC —
Factional fights in Zanu-PF are intensifying ahead of Saturday’s crucial Politburo meeting where party leader President Robert Mugabe is expected to read the riot act as the race to succeed him has for the first time seen party officials openly trading barbs.
Speaking on condition of anonymity some Zanu-PF officials said apart from the friction being caused by provincial elections, the battle for the position of vice president to replace the late John Nkomo and possibly the chairman’s post, if incumbent Simon Khaya Moyo is elevated to deputise Mugabe, is widening the rifts.
The party has been forced to postpone crucial provincial elections as the battle to succeed Mr. Mugabe intensifies. The internal polls held so far in Manicaland, Mashonaland Central and Midlands provinces have been won by officials aligned to a faction said to be fronted by Vice President Joice Mujuru, sparking a dispute by losing members aligned to a faction led by Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The two, though, have consistently denied that they are factional leaders.
Mr. Mugabe was expected to arrive in Zimbabwe on Friday from Kuwait where he attended the Afro-Asia summit.
Zanu-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo confirmed Saturday’s meeting but referred further questions to party secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa, who could not be reached for comment as his phone was not reachable.
Political analyst Trevor Maisiri of the International Crisis Group said addressing the fissures in the party might be problematic now.